What are some important characteristics of South Korean culture?


Quick Answer

Some important characteristics of South Korean culture are social status, urban living and an industrial economy. Sex roles define work and marriage. Other elements of Korean culture involve food, holidays and art.

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Full Answer

Most Koreans consider themselves middle class and are very status conscious, quickly deferring to superiors. The country's language is Korean, as spoken around the city of Seoul. According to the 1995 census, about 88 percent of Korean people live in urban condominiums or apartments. Major industries include cars, electronics, petrochemicals and shipbuilding. Seniority is preferred in white collar jobs.

In South Korean culture, men are usually the primary decision makers, and women are submissive, despite laws declaring equality. Women work outside of the home, but men hold jobs of power and authority. The purpose of marriage is to ensure the survival of the man's family line. While parents often arrange meetings between couples, each person is free to choose who he or she will marry.

Kimch'i, a spicy fermented vegetable dish, is the national food of Korea. Kimch'i, along with rice and soybean paste soup are eaten at every meal. Koreans eat while sitting on the floor at a low table. The most important Korean holidays are New Year's Day and the harvest festival Ch'usok. Korean paintings express the beauty of nature, while sculpture is often inspired by Buddhism.

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